Four new films to stream this week

Oxygen on Netflix, Some Kind of Heaven, Cowboys and Apples on demand

Some Kind of Heaven

Some Kind of Heaven

 

SOME KIND OF HEAVEN ★★★★☆
Directed by Lance Oppenheim. Featuring Dennis Dean, Lynn Henry, Anne Kincer, Reggie Kincer. VOD, 81 min
The Villages, a sprawling, profoundly plastic Florida retirement community, takes up three counties, and houses 130,000 mostly white baby boomers in a Trump-heavy voting block some 45 miles from Orlando. This excellent documentary on the complex leans towards the ambience of Blue Velvet: there’s a compelling soap opera bubbling under the sterile surface. In their quest to live comfortable, tyrannically upbeat lives, the inhabitants are barely living at all. Debut director Lance Oppenheim may be a twentysomething, but he still finds plenty of drama, nuance and humanity. Full review TB

OXYGEN ★★★☆☆
Directed by Alexandre Aja. Starring Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi. Netflix, 101 min

Mélanie Laurent in Oxygen
Mélanie Laurent in Oxygen

A woman (Laurent) awakens in a cryogenic chamber with no recollection of how she got there and a limited supply of titular gas. We are back in the territory of vivisepulture – or live burial – the concern that inspired stories such as Poe’s The Premature Burial. The appearance of Malik Zidi rounds off a fine cast and introduces intriguing echoes of the amnesiac romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. That and decent tech specs, including some nifty shots from veteran horror DOP Maxime Alexandre, offset the slightly cobbled together feel. Decent. Full review TB

COWBOYS ★★★☆☆
Directed by Anna Kerrigan. Starring Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell, Sasha Knight, Ann Dowd, Gary Farmer. VOD, 83 min

Steve Zahn in Cowboys
Steve Zahn in Cowboys

Kerrigan makes some brave choices in her treatment of a child going through gender transition – a hot topic if ever there was one. It is Sally (Bell), the hard-working, caring mother, who wonders if young Joe (Knight) might not just be playing out. It is deadbeat dad Troy (Zahn), a drunk with a line in hopeless fantasy, who takes the child’s aspirations seriously. The tensions come to a head when Troy takes Joe on a Quixotic journey towards the Canadian border. Well acted. Consistently compassionate. Just a little contrived. Full review TB

APPLES ★★★☆☆
Directed by Christos Nikou. Starring Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili, Anna Kalaitzidou, Argiris Bakirtzis. VOD, 90 min

Aris Servetalis in Apples
Aris Servetalis in Apples

Not for the first time in the last year, a film accidentally chimes with the concerns of our Covid era. Nikou’s fascinating Greek drama plonks us amid a pandemic that strips victims of all memories. They are then instructed to record experiences as a way of reconstructing their personae. Apples has something to say about our contemporary habit of placing audiovisual documentation where memories used to be. But there are also arguments about the extent to which we are formed from past experiences. Creepy and slyly funny. Full review DC

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